The enormous obelisks in Aksum, Ethiopia are much bigger than the famous obelisks in Egypt.
The city of Aksum emerged several centuries before the birth of Christ, as the capital of a state that traded with ancient Greece, Egypt and Asia. With its fleets sailing as far afield as Ceylon, Aksum later became the most important power between the Roman Empire and Persia, and for a while controlled parts of South Arabia.
Tomb of King Gebre Meskel
Aksum, whose name first appears in the 1st century AD in the Periplus of the Eritrean Sea, is considered to be the heart of ancient Ethiopia. Indeed, the kingdom which held sway over this area at this time took its name from the city.
The ruins of the site spread over a large area and are composed of tall, obelisk-like stelae of imposing height, an enormous table of stone, vestiges of columns and royal tombs inscribed with Aksumite legends and traditions. In the western sector of the city there are also the ruins of three castles from the 1st century AD.
Situated in the highlands of northern Ethiopia, Aksum symbolizes the wealth and importance of the civilization of the ancient Aksumite kingdom, which lasted from the 1st to the 8th centuries AD.
The kingdom was at the crossroads of the three continents: Africa, Arabia and the Greco-Roman World, and was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. In command of the ivory trade with Sudan, its fleets controlled the Red Sea trade through the port of Adulis and the inland routes of north eastern Africa.
The ruins of the ancient Aksumite Civilization covered a wide area in the Tigray Plateau. The most impressive monuments are the monolithic obelisks, royal tombs and the palace ruins dating to the 6th and 7th centuries AD.
Several stelae survive in the town of Aksum dating between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The largest standing obelisk rises to a height of over 23 meters and is exquisitely carved to represent a nine-storey building of the Aksumites. It stands at the entrance of the main stelae area. The largest obelisk of some 33 meters long lies where it fell, perhaps during the process of erection. It is possibly the largest monolithic stele that ancient human beings ever attempted to erect.
The Tombs of King Kaleb, Aksum
A series of inscription on stone tablets have proved to be of immense importance to historians of the ancient world. Some of them include trilingual text in Greek, Sabaean and Ge’ez (Classical Ethiopian), inscribed by King Ezana in the 4th century AD.
The Tombs of King Kaleb, Aksum
The introduction of Christianity in the 4th century AD resulted in the building of churches, such as Saint Mary of Zion, rebuilt in the Gondarian period, in the 17th century AD, which is believed to hold the Ark of the Covenant.
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Axum was the center of the marine trading power known as the Aksumite Kingdom, which predated the earliest mentions in Roman era writings. Around AD 356, its ruler was converted to Christianity by Frumentius. Later, under the reign of Kaleb, Axum was a quasi-ally of Byzantium against the Persian Empire. The historical record is unclear, primary sources limited mainly to ancient church records.
It is believed it began a long slow decline after the 7th century due partly to Islamic groups contesting trade routes. Eventually Aksum was cut off from its principal markets in Alexandria, Byzantium and Southern Europe and its trade share was captured by Arab traders of the era. The Kingdom of Aksum was finally destroyed by Gudit, and eventually the people of Aksum were forced south and their civilization declined. As the kingdom’s power declined so did the influence of the city, which is believed to have lost population in the decline similar to Rome and other cities thrust away from the flow of world events. The last known (nominal) king to reign was crowned ca. 10th century, but the kingdom’s influence and power ended long before that.
Its decline in population and trade then contributed to the shift of the power center of the Ethiopian Empire so that it moved further inland and bequeathed its alternative place name (Ethiopia) to the region, and eventually, the modern state.
Entrance to the Tomb of the False Door at the stelae field of Axum …
Photo of Remaining iron clamp. Ethiopia. Axum
Keystone cuts has also been found in Egypt.
The Nile River
The Nile River is an international river that flows through 11 countries that include Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt.
This international river flows northward across much of the Sahara Desert. There are two major tributaries, the White Nile and Blue Nile, that work together to form the Nile River.
Please keep in mind that the Nile River Flows North to our current day Egypt.